I have been a team member, a team leader, a department leader overseeing teams, and a CEO building companies of teams. All of this team building has required me to conduct a lot of interviews, and to think long and hard about what to ask.

I have spent quite a bit of time searching Google or Bing to gain insight into great questions, but this kind of impersonal searching doesn’t compare with talking with an expert face to face.

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to discuss this subject with someone that used to work for Jimmy Pattison.

(Aside: For those who are unfamiliar with Jimmy Pattison, he lives in Vancouver BC Canada. Pattison’s business holdings all began with a single Pontiac Buick car dealership in 1961. It grew from that point to now, and had sales of more than $7.5 billion in 2012 — the fruit of more than 35,000 employees working at 470 locations across the world.)

My counterpart at coffee said that Jimmy Pattison is most concerned with getting the answers to 5 specific questions. Only after he has those answers does he move on to the resume and other details.

These are the questions:

1. Is the candidate intelligent?
2. Is the candidate hard-working?
3. Is the candidate honest?
4. Is the candidate able to work as a team?
5. Is the candidate able to communicate?

When I first heard these questions, I thought they were very insightful and I have been thinking about them ever since. I know that I will certainly leverage these questions in my next interview, and I hope you will too.

Thanks for reading!